Factorial validity of the effort–reward imbalance scale: evidence from multi-sample and three-wave follow-up studies

  • Johanna Rantanen
  • Taru Feldt
  • Katriina Hyvönen
  • Ulla Kinnunen
  • Anne Mäkikangas
Original Article



The present study investigated whether the factor structure of the effort–reward imbalance (ERI) scale (Siegrist et al. Soc Sci Med 58:1483–1499, 2004) remains same across two white-collar samples (i.e., factorial group invariance) and across three measurement times (i.e., factorial time invariance).


The factorial group invariance was tested using two different samples including 1,301 managers and 758 young white-collar professionals. The factorial time invariance was tested in the latter sample with a four-year three-wave follow-up design.


The confirmatory factor analysis performed supported the theoretically based structure of the ERI scale, that is, the scale included two first-order factors of effort and overcommitment and one second-order factor of reward with first-order factors of esteem, career opportunities, and job security. The factorial group invariance of this structure was also supported. In addition, the factor loadings of all factors remained same across three measurements; thus, lending support for the factorial time invariance.


The ERI scale was found to be a valid tool to measure costs and gains of social exchanges at work as well as individual orientation toward work in these two occupational samples including a longitudinal study design.


Effort–reward imbalance Confirmatory factor analysis Factorial validity Longitudinal study Managers 



The preparation of this article was supported by funding from the Academy of Finland awarded to Johanna Rantanen (138369), and from the Finnish Work Environment Fund awarded to Taru Feldt (project 105363) and Ulla Kinnunen (project 104129).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Rantanen
    • 1
  • Taru Feldt
    • 1
  • Katriina Hyvönen
    • 1
  • Ulla Kinnunen
    • 2
  • Anne Mäkikangas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.School of Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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